Wednesday 3 June 2020

Lockdown Day 72 - Bishop Wood - the inside story - Part 2

Yesterday, I did a blog post about some of the flowers we encountered on our walk around Bishop Wood. Today I present views of the woodland and of a couple of insects we saw on our walk.

Before I begin I must mention the very brief sighting of some kind of vole in a ditch in the wood, it wasn't a water vole as it was too small but could well have been a bank vole. Such a shame we didn't get a good view of it for further study.

I am not sure what has happened to this tree early on in its life, but I have never seen a tree attempt to tie a knot in itself before! If anyone can offer a plausible explanation for this weird shape please let me know!

This is a Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) butterfly, a very common species in woodland, and we've even had one or two around the allotment before now. Taking photographs of butterflies can sometimes be frustrating as their often flit off just as I have got focused and set up! This one was very obliging and I was fascinated by the stripy eye markings which can be seen better if you zoom in on the picture. 

Without being any form of expert, I find the diversity of insects, including beetles amazing, and especially as the finer details of these species are only apparent on close inspection. This is what I believe to be a beetle of the family Silphidae  (possibly Silpha atrata) often known as "burying beetles" as some of them bury small carcasses for food for themselves and their larvae (even such as birds, mice etc for the larger ones). If this is Silpha atrata then it feeds on snails. 

The forest is a mixture of ancient forest growth and some plantation/managed grown, for instance these pine trees are too orderly to have arrived there by accident. It is, if you go at the right time of day and keep to the smaller paths, a very peaceful place,with plenty of birdsong and plenty to look at, and a month or two ago will have been carpeted in many places with bluebells as the plants are going to seed now. It will be nice to have another trip here later in the year.

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